The release date for Mother was pushed back after press time. The new release date is Friday, March 26.

Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho's The Host was one of those rare revelations of filmmaking (like Pulp Fiction or Unforgiven) that completely remake the genre they're playing around in. Giant-monster-on-a-rampage movies would never be the same after The Host's opening scene (where the audience is focused on the expectation of a clichéd monster-leaping-from-the-water scene and then, without any fanfare, the beast comes galumphing down the beach like a happy puppy). Mother, Bong's follow-up film, doesn't remake the cinematic mystery; instead, it's "merely" a Hitchcock-level masterpiece.

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Kim Hye-ja plays the mother of a mentally handicapped son named Do-joon (Won Bin), who has been accused of murdering a schoolgirl. After local police declare the mystery solved, the mother sets out to prove her son's innocence by any means necessary. Kim's performance is impeccable—her character (listed in the credits simply as "Mother") is quiet and dignified, tenacious and smart. Her willingness to put everything on the line for her son is less of a moral imperative and more of a necessity for survival, like breathing. She's supported by a strong cast: Won does a fine, tragicomic job with Do-joon, although the Seattle-Korea cultural divide will probably cause a couple of scenes to appear insensitive toward the mentally challenged.

Mother is what you'd expect from a murder mystery starring an amateur sleuth—there's the scene when Mother breaks into a suspect's house to find evidence, a scene where she gets help from unexpected quarters, and a few reversals of fortune that come at appropriately timed points—but Bong is such an assured director with a passionate distaste for cinematic clichés that the film polishes each hoary old touchstone into something shiny and new. The last foreign film that came to town with such invigorating love of filmmaking and heartfelt respect for genre was Let the Right One In. You really should see this movie. recommended